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Returning home from international competition with back pain after AGs

“It hasn't really sunk in yet, but I'm happy,” said Shin Yubin (Korean Air) after returning home from international competitions following the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games.

Shin returned home via Incheon Airport on the afternoon of Aug. 8. It's a belated ‘golden homecoming'.

Shin won three bronze and one gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games. She won bronze in the women's team event, women's singles and mixed doubles, and gold in the women's doubles with Jeon Jeon-hee (Mirae Asset Securities).

The highlight of the day was the women's doubles, where the Chinese pairing of Shin Yubin and Jeon Jeon-hee fell early in the quarterfinals to Japan's Miwa Harimoko and Miyu Kihara, before defeating Cha Sooyoung and Park Soo-kyung in the semifinals of the North-South clash.

This is the first time in 21 years that a South Korean table tennis player has won an Asian Games gold medal since Lee Chul-seung-Seung-min in men's doubles and Seok Eun-mi-Eun-sil in women's doubles at the 2002 Busan Games.

After winning the women's doubles title on the second day of the Games, Shin was scheduled to return home at the end of the month after fulfilling her international schedule. However, while playing at the World Table Tennis (WTT) event Lanzhou 2023, she felt pain in her back and returned home earlier than planned.

“I was aiming for a medal before going to the Asian Games, but it feels great to have won medals in all events. I am very happy and grateful to have won a gold medal as well,” she said. “I wanted to create a game with no regrets in terms of game management, and I am satisfied that it came out. I am also happy with the result.”

On the day of her arrival, many fans gathered to take pictures of her on their cell phones. As she exited the arrivals hall, she was greeted with loud applause.

“I still can't believe I made it to the Asian Games. “It still doesn't really sink in yet, but I'm happy that I won a medal and that so many people like me,” she said.

After suffering a wrist injury in late 2021, Shin almost didn't make the team for the Hangzhou Asian Games, but was able to step onto the Asian Games stage thanks to a new selection process after the Games were pushed back a year due to COVID-19.

“I was lucky to get the opportunity to compete in the tournament,” she said, “and I wanted to make sure I didn't have any regrets.” “I played with a grateful heart, and it paid off,” she reflected.

Shin and Lim Jong-hoon (Korea Exchange) also made waves with their ceremony after winning bronze in the mixed doubles. They performed a ball heart, and the crowd cheered as Lim straightened Shin's medal strap.

“I was the first to suggest the ball heart, saying, ‘When would you like to be on the podium at the Asian Games?' It was my brother Jang Woo-jin (who was on the podium with me) who straightened the medal straps, and then my brother Jong-hoon (Lim) followed suit.”

When asked if he spoke to the North Korean athletes he met in the final, Shin said, “I just said hello to them on the podium. I didn't have any conversations with them.”

Fortunately, Shin's back condition is not serious. After focusing on treatment, she will return to the country later this month to compete in an international competition.

“I came home because I don't want to make it a bigger injury. I'm going to take care of it and train harder,” she said. “I realized how focused all the players were at the big tournament. It was a great experience for me as well. I will do a good job in the preparation process so that I can create a game without regrets in the future.”

“There's something I want to tell you,” Shin said as the interview came to a close.

“There are sponsors who believed in me and waited for me even when I almost didn't make it to the Asian Games. I'm very grateful to Korean Air, Shinhan Financial Group, and Nike for their faith and patience,” she smiled. 스포츠토토링크


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